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7 Best Cameras For Hiking & Backpacking 2022

Breathtaking landscapes and fresh air – hiking is one of the best ways to relax and get away from it all. Mountain vistas, idyllic waterfalls, and towering forests; there are few things as beautiful as nature. Capturing those experiences on camera is a great way to share your hikes with friends and family and to keep the memories alive.

To truly capture the memories of your hike, you need a good camera. Whether you’re an amateur shutterbug or a professional photographer, having a good camera will help you capture the most of your time in nature.

When it comes to choosing the best camera for hiking, there are a few factors you need to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want something lightweight and easy to carry – after all, hikes can be long and strenuous, and the last thing you want is a bulky camera weighing you down. You’ll also want something with good battery life, as you won’t want to be constantly stopping to recharge your camera in the middle of a hike. And finally, you’ll want something that takes great pictures!

Without further ado, let’s get started!

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What Is The Best Camera For Hiking & Backpacking?

Here is our review of the best camera for hiking & backpacking.

The 7 Best Cameras for Hiking & Backpacking

  1. Best Overall Hiking Camera – Olympus Tough TG-6
  2. Best Budget Hiking Camera – Canon Powershot Elph 190 IS
  3. Best Point and Shoot Hiking Camera – Sony Rx 100 VII
  4. Best Mirrorless Hiking Camera – Sony Alpha a6600
  5. Best DSLR Hiking Camera For Hiking – Nikon D3500
  6. Best Video Hiking Camera – Sony A7 IV
  7. Best Action Hiking Camera – GoPro Hero 9 Black

1) Best Overall Camera For Hiking – Olympus Tough TG-6

Best Camera For Hiking & Backpacking - Best Overall Hiking Camera - Olympus Tough TG-6
Best Overall Hiking Camera – Olympus Tough TG-6

Overview

The Olympus Tough TG-6 camera has no limit to the adventures it can capture. This ultra-rugged camera fits in your pocket and takes breathtaking photos. Despite its small size, it’s jam-packed with sophisticated high-tech features and it’s a waterproof camera too.

Hikers and other adventurers will love the host of sensors and tracking abilities of the TG-6. The GPS, altimeter/depth gauge, compass, accelerometer, and thermometer will record every detail of your journey. The best part is the GPS data is linked to your photo’s metadata, letting you geolocate your pics in software like Lightroom or apple photos.

The TG-6 comes with many accessories, including a waterproof case (50m of additional depth), lenses, a remote, and much more. Scale the highest mountain or explore the ocean’s depths; with the Olympus Tough TG-6. Nothing is out of reach.

Specs

  • Camera Type: Point-and-Shoot
  • Weight: 8.9oz/253g
  • Resolution: 12MP
  • Lens: 25-100mm F2.0-4.9
  • Video: 4K/30fps
  • Weather-Sealed: Waterproof to 50ft/15m

What We like

  • Durable, rugged design
  • Waterproof camera
  • Data tracking
  • Supports RAW format

What We Didn’t Like

  • Menu system is confusing
  • No Bluetooth connectivity (wireless only)

Recommendation

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is the best overall camera for hiking and backpacking. Its durable construction can withstand any abuse you throw at it while easily tracking your data.

2) Best Budget Camera For Hiking – Canon Powershot Elph 190 IS

Best Camera for Hiking & Backpacking - Best Budget Camera - Canon Powershot Elph 190
Best Budget Camera – Canon Powershot Elph 190

Overview

The best budget camera for hiking is the Canon Powershot Elph 190 IS. It’s a small, affordable camera with a 10x zoom lens and Wi-Fi connectivity. The small sub $200 point-and-shoot camera market used to be flooded with different options and models, but in recent years it has all but dried up as cell phone cameras have taken over.

However, if you are looking to ditch the cell phone and want a camera that fits easily in your pocket and is simple to use, the Canon Elph 190 IS is a great option and our top pick.

Specs

  • Camera Type: Point-and-Shoot
  • Weight: 4.87 oz/ 138g
  • Resolution: 20MP
  • Lens: 24mm – 240mm
  • Video: 720p
  • Weather-Sealed: No

What We like

  • Small and lightweight
  • Affordable
  • 10x zoom lens
  • Wi-Fi connectivity

What We Didn’t Like

  • Image quality is not as good as more expensive cameras
  • No manual exposure mode

Recommendation

The Canon Powershot Elph 190 IS is the best budget camera for hiking and backpacking. It’s small, lightweight, and affordable with a 10x zoom lens.

Price

MSRP $179.99

3) Best Point and Shoot Camera For Hiking – Sony Rx 100 VII

Best Camera For Hiking - Best Point and Shoot Camera - Sony RX100 VII
Best Point and Shoot Camera – Sony RX100 VII

Overview

The best point-and-shoot camera for hiking is the Sony RX100 VII. This pocket-sized powerhouse offers incredible image quality thanks to its large 1-inch sensor. The Zeiss optics provide excellent low-light performance, and the autofocus system is blazing fast.

4K video recording is supported and super slow motion 1080p at 960fps. The tilting LCD makes it ideal for vlogging your time on the trail, and the built-in pop-up viewfinder is handy for bright sunny days.

The only downside of the RX100 VII is its price tag which is relatively high for a point-and-shoot camera. But if you’re looking for the best possible image quality in a small package, the RX100 VII is hard to beat. However, better mirrorless options are slightly heavier and pack many more features at a similar price.

Specs

  • Camera Type: Point-and-Shoot
  • Weight: 10.7oz/ 302g
  • Resolution: 20MP
  • Lens: 24mm-200mm f/2.8-4.5
  • Video: 4K 30fps
  • Weather-Sealed: No

What We like

  • Amazing image quality
  • Fast autofocus system
  • 4K video recording

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive
  • No weather sealing

Recommendation

The Sony RX100 VII is the best point-and-shoot camera for hiking and backpacking. It offers incredible image quality, fast autofocus, and 4K video recording.

Price

MSRP $1,399.99

4) Best Mirrorless Camera For Hiking – Sony Alpha a6600

Best Camera For Hiking & Backpacking - Best Mirrorless Camera - Sony a6600
Best Mirrorless Camera – Sony a6600

Overview

The Sony a6600 is the best camera for hiking on the market, offering great features and impressive battery life. Introduced in 2019, the Sony a6600 is still the best camera in the a6000 line. It has been a favorite of hikers and backpackers for years because of its image stabilization and image quality.

The Sony a6600 has many features that make it the best camera for hiking. The battery life is incredible and will last you all day, and the image stabilization is top-notch. The autofocus tracking is excellent and will keep your subjects in focus even when they move around.

One of the best things about the Sony a6600 is that it is very lightweight and compact. This makes it easy to carry with you on your hikes without feeling weighed down. Additionally, the a6600 comes with various lenses that you can choose depending on your needs.

Specs

  • Camera Type: Mirrorless
  • Weight: 17.74oz/ 503g (camera body only)
  • Resolution: 24.2 MP
  • Lens: Interchangeable
  • Video: 4K 30fps
  • Weather-Sealed: Yes

What We like

  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Great battery life
  • Image stabilization
  • Image quality

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive
  • Must purchase lenses separately

Recommendation

The Sony a6600 is the best mirrorless camera for hikers and backpackers. It offers excellent features, an impressive battery life, and is lightweight and compact. Additionally, the a6600 comes with various lenses that you can choose depending on your needs.

Price

MSRP $1399.99 + lenses

5) Best DSLR Camera For Hiking – Nikon D3500

Best Camera For Hiking - Best dSLR - Nikon D3500
Best DSLR – Nikon D3500

Overview

The Nikon D3500 is our top pick for the best DSLR camera for hiking. It’s an entry-level DSLR that’s easy to use and has plenty of features for beginner photographers.

The Nikon D3500 is an excellent choice for hikers and backpackers who want a lightweight and portable DSLR that’s easy to use but still produces exceptional image quality. The 24MP sensor is good enough for most purposes, and the camera is compatible with a wide range of Nikon lenses. It also has a great battery life, making it a good choice for long days on the trail.

Although it doesn’t have image stabilization built into the body, many of Nikon’s lenses have VR (Vibration Reduction), which helps to reduce camera shake and blur. The 18-55mm kit lens that’s often bundled with the D3500 has VR, and we think it’s worth paying the extra for this feature.

Specs

  • Camera Type: DSLR
  • Weight: 12.9oz /365 g (camera body only)
  • Resolution: 24.2MP
  • Lens: Interchangeable
  • Video: 1080p 60fps
  • Weather-Sealed:

What We like

  • Light for a DSLR
  • Hi-Resolution
  • Ease of use

What We Didn’t Like

  • No in-built image stabilization
  • No 4K Video
  • Rear LCD doesn’t rotate

Recommendation

The Nikon D3500 is our top pick for the best DSLR camera for hiking. It’s a great entry-level DSLR that’s easy to use with plenty of features for beginner photographers, and it produces excellent image quality for the price. Hikers will enjoy its light weight and long battery life.

Price

MSRP $649.95

6) Best Video Camera For Hiking – Sony A7 IV

Best Cameras For Hiking - Best Video - Sony a7R IV
Best Video – Sony a7R IV

Overview

The Sony a7R IV is the company’s fourth generation, high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera. It is built around a BSI-CMOS sensor that outputs 60.2MP images and can shoot up to 10 frames per second with full autofocus. It also gains a 16-shot high-resolution mode that can be used to generate 240MP images of static scenes.

The a7R IV offers some of the best video specs of any mirrorless camera on the market. It can shoot 4K video either from the full width of its sensor or from an APS-C/Super 35 crop. It also has built-in 5-axis image stabilization, which will come in handy when shooting video handheld.

The a7R IV is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-end video camera that can also double as a stills camera. It offers superior image quality, fast autofocus, and good build.

Specs

  • Camera Type: Mirrorless
  • Weight: 23.5oz/ 665g (camera body only)
  • Resolution: 61MP
  • Lens: Interchangeable
  • Video: 4K 30fps
  • Weather-Sealed: Yes

What We like

  • Excellent image and video quality
  • Fast autofocus
  • Good build quality
  • Image quality

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive
  • Must purchases lenses
  • Heavier than some of the alternatives on the list

Recommendation

The Sony a7R IV is an excellent choice for a top-of-the-line high-end video camera that also takes great photos. It offers impressive image quality, beautiful videos, fast autofocus, a great build, and a full-frame camera.

Price

MSRP $3,499.99 + lenses

7) Best Action Camera For Hiking – GoPro Hero 10 Black

Best Camera For Hiking - Best Action Camera - GoPro Hero 10 Black
Best Action Camera – GoPro Hero 10 Black

Overview

Although the GoPro is a sports action camera, it is also an excellent choice for hiking. It has many features perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, including GPS, a rugged design, and fantastic image stabilization. Photos from the GoPro are top-notch.

This year GoPro Hero Black 10 has an all-new GP2 processor that unlocks some serious potential. The new model of this iconic action cam takes full advantage of its 23-megapixel processor and increased video frame rates.

The best thing about the GoPro is that it’s so user-friendly that even first-time action camera users can figure out how to use all of its features without too much trouble.

Specs

  • Camera Type: Action Cam
  • Weight: 5.4 oz/ 153g
  • Resolution: 23MP
  • Lens: 16.5mm equivalent
  • Video: 5.3K 60fps
  • Weather-Sealed: Yes

What We like

  • User-friendly
  • 23-megapixel sensor
  • increased video frame rates
  • Image quality

What We Didn’t Like

  • wide-angle photos only

Recommendation

The GoPro Hero 10 Black is the best hiking action camera. It is user-friendly, has an excellent 23-megapixel sensor, and increased video frame rates.

Price

MSRP $549.98

Final Thoughts

FAQ

What is the best camera for hiking & backpacking?

The best overall camera is the Olympus Tough TG-6. It is a durable camera that can withstand various weather conditions and terrain. It also has a great lens and resolution, making it perfect for capturing all your hiking adventures.

What type of camera would be best for a hiking trip?

The best cameras for hiking will be the ones that best suit your individual needs and preferences. Consider what you want to use your camera for and how important factors like weight, size, and image quality are to you. With so many great options on the market, you’re sure to find the perfect camera for your next hike.

What camera do backpackers use?

Backpackers use a variety of cameras. When hiking, I often take my cell phone, a GoPro, and a Sony a6500 with me. With a combination of cameras and lenses, I can always get the photo I want.

Is GoPro good for hiking?

Yes, the GoPro is suitable for hiking. It is lightweight, small, and takes beautiful photos. It’s limited by its fixed lens length. Wide-angle shots are great for close-ups and landscape vistas, but if your subject is too far away, you won’t be able to zoom in.

Hiking Camera Buying Advice

Types of Cameras

There are many different types of cameras on the market, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Mirrorless Cameras

A mirrorless camera is a newer type of camera that is becoming increasingly popular. They are similar to DSLR cameras in that they have interchangeable lenses but do not have a mirror inside the camera body. This makes them lighter and more compact than DSLRs.

One of the main advantages of mirrorless cameras is that they have excellent autofocus systems. This is important for hikers who want to be able to take quick photos without having to worry about missing the shot.

Another advantage of mirrorless cameras is that they have better video quality than DSLRs. This is perfect for hikers who want to document their adventures with high-quality video footage.

The main downside of mirrorless cameras is that they can be more expensive than DSLRs. This is something to keep in mind if you are on a tight budget.

DSLR Cameras

DSLR cameras are the most popular type of camera on the market. They have been around for many years and are trusted by professional photographers worldwide.

One of the main advantages of DSLRs is that they have large sensors. This means that they can take high-quality photos, even in low-light conditions.

Another advantage of DSLRs is their wide range of lenses available. This allows hikers to find a lens that is perfect for their needs.

The downside of DSLRs is that they can be heavy and bulky, making them difficult to carry on long hikes. They also tend to have shorter battery life than a mirrorless camera.

Point and Shoot Cameras

These compact cameras are a good option for hikers who want a camera that is lightweight and easy to use. They are much smaller than DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, making them easy to carry in your pocket or backpack.

One of the main advantages of point-and-shoot compact cameras is that they are straightforward. This is ideal for hikers who don’t want to spend time learning how to use a complex camera.

Another advantage of point-and-shoot cameras is that they tend to be quite affordable. This makes them an excellent option for hikers on a tight budget.

Action Cameras

Action cameras are a good option for hikers who want to document their adventures with high-quality video footage. They are compact cameras and lightweight, making them easy to carry on your hikes.

One of the main advantages of action cameras is their excellent video quality. This is perfect for hikers who want to capture their adventures in high-definition.

Another advantage of action cameras is that they are very rugged and durable. This means that they can withstand being dropped or getting wet.

The downside of these compact cameras is that they have a fixed lens length meaning you can’t change the look of a shot or zoom in on a subject if they are far away.

Rugged Cameras

Rugged cameras are a good option for hikers who want a durable, reliable camera. They are designed to withstand being dropped or getting wet. A waterproof camera is perfect for hiking in all conditions.

The main advantages of rugged cameras are their toughness and durability. You don’t have to worry about them getting damaged on your hike.

Weather Sealing

Weather sealing is an essential feature for hikers to look for in a camera. This means that the camera is designed to withstand being exposed to the elements such as rain or snow. This does not mean it is a waterproof camera, but it is water and dust-resistant.

Lenses Selection

Choosing the right lens, or more accurately, collection of lenses, is critical for success as a hiker photographer. The best lenses for hiking photography are lightweight and have a wide field of view.

Telephoto lenses are also popular among hikers, as they allow you to zoom in on distant subjects without getting too close. This can be useful for wildlife photography or capturing sweeping landscapes. When choosing lenses, you want to find the highest quality, lightest weight lenses and try to overlap the ranges so that you can cover a wide focal range with as few lenses as possible.

Using Your Phone

Phones these days have excellent cameras with outstanding resolutions. With the proper settings and practice, you can take great photos with your phone while hiking. I regularly use my phone to take pictures on the trail.

The disadvantage of a phone camera is that you are limited by the lenses built into the phone. This can be overcome by using attachable lenses, but this does add weight. The lenses are often low quality resulting in blurring and aberrations in your photos.

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